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America's Cup news, Sail Canada report, The Ocean Race update

by David Schmidt 11 May 03:00 NZST May 10, 2022
Australia SailGP Team helmed by Tom Slingsby race past the Golden Gate Bridge in the Grand Final on Race Day 2 of San Francisco SailGP, Season 2 © Thomas Lovelock for SailGP

The 2024 America's Cup might feel like a long way over the horizon as North America just begins to enter its 2022 sailing season, but the wheels are already turning for the 37th Defense. While some question marks still remain, Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron are set to defend the Auld Mug on the waters off of Barcelona, Spain, in September or October of 2024 using AC75 foiling monohulls. Not surprisingly, "AC37" has already attracted some serious challengers, including Alinghi Red Bull Racing, INEOS Britannia, the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team, and American Magic.

While all of these challengers are serious customers, it's the New York Yacht Club's American Magic that made headlines last week when the team announced that Olympic gold medalist and multi-class world champion sailor Tom Slingsby (AUS) has signed on to the American-flagged team. Slingsby will join Paul Goodison (GBR) as a driver for the American boat.

"I'm extremely excited to return to the America's Cup arena," said Slingsby in an official team press release. "The AC75s are remarkable craft, and I look forward to doing whatever I can to help our team in their quest to bring the trophy back to the United States and the New York Yacht Club. We've got world-class talent on board the boat and backing us on the shore; I'm proud and excited to be a part of it."

Slingsby, it will be remembered, was part of Oracle Team USA's stunning juggernaut victory over ETNZ on the waters of San Francisco Bay in 2013, and he was also part of the same team's unsuccessful defense on Bermudian waters in 2017. He also won a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics in the Laser.

Much more recently, Slingsby led his Australia SailGP Team to season titles in SailGP's Season 1 and Season 2, the latter of which was recently determined on San Francisco Bay.

There's no word yet as to how American Magic will sail their boat, however with two world-class helmsmen in their stable, and after seeing how well Luna Rossa sailed in the last Cup with two drivers (Jimmy Spithill and Francesco"Checco" Bruni), one has to ponder if the Yanks will hit the racecourse with both drivers, or if they will opt for a single helm who will change boards with each maneuver.

"Having Tom and Paul Goodison, both Olympic Gold Medalists and world champions, driving our AC75 gives us a great competitive position," said Hap Fauth, one of the team's founding principles, in an official release. "They are fierce competitors who win at the highest level of sailing. Combine this with the world-class team we are building, and I am thrilled with our prospects."

Meanwhile, in Olympic sailing news, Sail Canada recently announced their 2022-2023 Canadian Sailing team and their Canadian Para Sailing Team. In total, 29 sailors were selected based on their racecourse returns from the 2021-2022 season and the Canadian Sailing Team Sport Canada Carding Criteria.

Leading the hunt for the Canadian Sailing team is Laser Radial (sorry, "ILCA 6") sailor Sarah Douglas. She's joined by 49erFX sailors Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance and Mariah Millen and Ali ten Hove, as well as Laser (sorry, "ILCA 7") sailor Tom Ramshaw.

The Canadian Para Sailing Team consists of 2.4mR sailors Jackie Gay and Bruce Millar, and RS Venture Connect sailors Scott Lutes and John McRoberts.

Sail-World wishes all of these athletes the best of luck as they prepare for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Speaking of Canada, Sail-World's New Zealand editor, Richard Gladwell, just completed an interview with Phil Robertson, who recently signed on as driver of the Canada SailGP Team.

Meanwhile, in offshore racing news, word recently broke that Team Malizia, led by skipper Boris Herrmann (GER), has named most of their crew ahead of the 2023 edition of The Ocean Race. The team will consist of Herrmann, co-skipper Will Harris (GBR), co-skipper Rosalin Kuiper (NED), and onboard reporter Antoine Auriol (FRA/GER).

Finally, word also broke that Olympic - and offshore-winning skipper - Ian Walker (GBR) has joined North Sails as the company's UK General Manager. Walker, it will be remembered, won the 2014-2015 edition of The Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, as well as two Olympic silver medals (in the Men's 470 at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics and in the Star at the Sydney 2000 Olympics); he most recently served as the British Sailing Team's performance director.

"North has a long history and rich tradition of being at the forefront of sailmaking," said Walker in an official release. "Joining North Sails is an excellent opportunity to be an active voice in the marine industry and part of the industry's leading brand. It's clear that everyone on the North Sails team has a passion for helping people get the most of their sailing, and my new role presents a unique opportunity to work alongside talented, like-minded sailors."

May the four winds blow you safely home.

David Schmidt
Sail-World.com North American Editor

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